Why Child-Loss Grief is So Different from Other Grief...
~by Tommy and Angie Prince
When a parent dies, though an extreme bond is there, somehow you are able to go on with your life; you can function.
Tommy lost his mother when he was just 14 years old. I lost my precious daddy in 2004. As much as we loved and were bonded with our parents, we were able to grieve even while we went on with our lives, functioning fairly normally even amidst our grief. Parent-loss is not easy. It is very painful to lose a parent who poured so much of themselves into your life that they basically influenced every aspect of your being: body, soul, heart, mind, and spirit. And the love they gave is beyond compare!
While you love them and appreciate all that they have poured into you, thanks to all of their sacrificial love for you, you can stand on your own two feet to function, face the world, and walk through it.
There is something inside you to call upon, that gives you the "oomph" to move forward, to go on with your life. There is a sweet peace inside you that you know they are okay, as you know they are in Heaven and that we will all be together again someday. So now you must live your life with all that they taught you, and attempt—with God's help—to be faithful now to God's calling upon your life for your time remaining on this earth.
When your child dies, however, grief is traumatic.
In fact, it seems when your child dies, at some level you die too.
Your life stops.
Everything you have stood for, everything you have been about, is stood on its ear.
Your life has been turned upside down.
Your heart has been ripped out of you, so there is nothing left to pull from; there are no resources available with which to function. It seems all systems are shut down in order to grieve and to walk through such heavy loss. "Moving on" is a luxury you don't have.
In Child-Loss Grief, all is geared for walking through the Unthinkable, the Tragic, the Great Loss, the Mangled mind, the Broken body, the Spent Spirit, the Hurt Heart, and the Shattered Soul.
With this loss, there is nothing there to call upon, to say "you can move on from this."
Indeed, as Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. says, with this kind of severe loss, we are learning from the newly-available brain scans that after the severe loss of one's child, the grief-traumatized brain IS DAMAGED. (Whether this damage is temporary or not has not yet been ascertained.) The part of the brain that even helps you to do the routine habits and procedures of everyday life is damaged, so that just walking through a day with its normal functions is almost impossible to do, much less trying to tackle the more complex problems of a demanding occupation, raising children, or other major life concerns.
Child-loss grief is debilitating, for our hearts, our souls, and our spirits are crushed!
The scripture that speaks to this so well is
"A man's spirit sustains him in sickness,
but a crushed spirit, who can bear?"
But our Lord says He will be there for us to pick us up...
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and
saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Because He Himself has been there...for our sake...
"Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows...He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed."
He was crushed that we might live; He was wounded that we might heal...
"But for you who revere My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings..."
So for the remainder of our lives we will be in a healing process with our ultimate healing culminating when we reach Heaven. At that time, God says,
"(Then) you will go out and leap (for joy) like calves released from the stall."
Until then, may God bless us in our very painful healing process...
Feel free to share your experiences with us with a comment at the very bottom of this post. (Just punch the "Comment" button, and post your comment.) If you are not up to it, that is fine. That is the way we are most of the time! I think that is just the way Child-Loss Grief is much of the time. We just appreciate your being here with us...